-Moderation Vs Overindulgence/Abstinence

So what is the answer? Moderation is the answer for all pleasures outside of God himself. Food can be very pleasurable, but overindulge and abstinence is bad. Sex is very pleasurable, but overindulgence and abstinence is bad. Sleep is very pleasurable, but overindulgence and abstinence is bad. Hobbies are very pleasurable, but overindulgence and abstinence is bad. There are so many examples where God made something good for us, but the overindulgence or abstinence of such things are bad for us. We are to manage our use of God's gifts to us. When we do so effectively as God desires then we are blessed with his blessings of pleasure. When we err on the side of either extreme of overindulgence or abstinence then we suffer consequences of that sin.

Overindulgence Causes Anhedonia
Everyone has seen the destructiveness of a drunkard, a gluttonous overeater, a drug addict, someone that has OCD, or a workaholic. Even worse for these people that overindulge in pleasure is that they experience what's called Anhedonia. Anhedonia is the loss of pleasure you experience the more you engage in such pleasure. Losing the experience of pleasure is never a good thing, but it can be a built in self corrective mechanism from God to let us know that we are doing too much of something. How does this happen? 

The neurotransmitter dopamine is released in the brain by rewarding experiences such as food, sex, drugs, and neutral stimuli that become associated with them. Human studies as well as rat studies show that the dopamine receptors are downregulated in subjects addicted to drugs and food. This downregulation occurs as a result of sharp increases in dopamine levels when dopamine repeatedly floods the brain during addictive behavior. Here, over-stimulation decreases the number of receptors, and the remaining receptors become less sensitive to dopamine. This process is called desensitization. 

Masturbation is the sexual stimulation of the genitals, usually to the point of orgasm. During masturbation, dopamine floods the brain in a manner similar to sex, drugs, or food. Therefore, it is within the realm of possibility that repeated masturbation at high frequency can also result in a decrease in the amount of dopamine receptors in the brain. In other words, frequent masturbation could, in theory, make your brain less sensitive to dopamine. 

If the brain is desensitized to big rewards like sex, food, and drugs, then smaller rewards would become even less rewarding to the brain. For example: decrease in pleasure from academic success, leading to less ability and motivation to focus on that subject. Many addicts report feeling less pleasure from everyday activities. Could masturbation actually be contributing to decrease in dopamine receptors and thus be promoting depression and lack of motivation? 

Abstinence Causes Overindulgence 
MANY people feel that abstinence is the answer. We even go as far to add to God's law our own human rules of abstinence to show off how holy we are. But this is the way of the Pharisees. People become vegetarians because they want to make sure they never eat meat sacrificed to idols or because they think killing animals for food is wrong. People completely abstain from a lot of things because they see the destructiveness of overindulgence and don't want to be anywhere in the vicinity of such destructive behavior. But this thinking is also very flawed because abstinence is the first step toward overindulgence of the worst kind. 

How does abstinence cause overindulgence? It's called "Ironic Process Theory." If I tell you not to think about white polar bears, what immediately pops into your brain? White polar bears pop into your brain. You try to suppress a forbidden thought or not look at some forbidden object, then you are more likely than before to do so and lack control over it. This is what the church does when it tells its members to not think about or look at the attractiveness of the opposite sex. This is NOT what Jesus had in mind. But Satan knows how this works. Don't look! Don't think of that! And what's the result everytime? We of course do the opposite against our own will and self interest. When we become free from the bondage of our false doctrines regarding lust and sexual immorality we become free from this process. We stop overindulging in thoughts of white polar bears because it's no longer forbidden. Or in this case, we stop overindulging in porn, masturbation, and other forms of forbidden sex. Moderation then becomes a much more attainable goal in porn and masturbation. With that in place, abstaining from forbidden forms of sex is much more attainable as well because we now have a healthy outlet to release our sexual impulses in the form of moderation.

But on the other hand, when we engage in forbidden conduct, we feel much guilt and shame. This guilt and shame is very damaging to us. It causes us to isolate ourselves away from God. We no longer feel worthy to approach God so we hide from him much like Adam and Eve did. We then can easily fall into destructive behaviors to further escape our guilt and shame. These destructive behaviors often times include overindulging ourselves in the very behavior we sought to abstain from in the first place. What a shame that would be if the original conduct you felt guilt and shame over was never forbidden in the first place. Now we are engaging in sensuality, which is overindulgence. This type of overindulgence is what causes true anhedonia. You will feel less and less pleasure from any and all sexual activity and not only that, but you have truly started a very destructive cycle, behavioral pattern, habit, or worse yet an addiction.

Importance Of Managing Sexual Impulses
The sexual impulses God gives us creates in us ambition and motivation to be the best version of ourselves. This is why some of the most successful men are ones with the highest libido. When we overindulge in sexual release, anhedonia sets in. We lose our motivation and drive to be the best versions of ourselves. In other words, we no longer have our sexual impulses to spur us forward to monumental feats in life. When we abstain from sexual release, our ambition and motivations may be high for a time, but our sexual impulses overwhelm us and we are then unable to fulfill our motivations and ambitious desires to achieve successes in life. We are constantly distracted with sexual thought and unable to achieve a high level of production. When we indulge our sexual impulse in moderation, we then are able to effectively manage it toward achieving maximum motivation and ambition toward our goals.

When we are young, we use the sexual impulse to become an attractive person for the opposite sex. We work out in order to have a fit body. We wear cologne in order to smell good. We put gel in our hair to make it look nice. We try to find ways to become more charming and funny to get the girl we want most. We wear named brand clothes to impress. We muster up the courage to ask a girl on a date with the danger of getting rejected. We get older and try to get the best job. We try to achieve success in business ventures. We try to buy a nice house and nice car. The sexual impulse drives these behaviors. If we manage it correctly we obtain maximum motivation and ambition to achieve successes and be the best version of ourselves. Without the sexual impulse, or without effective management of it, we never have the motivation or ambition to achieve the best version of ourself. God wants us to improve ourselves and achieve pleasure and satisfaction in sex. The best course to do this is through moderation. If you fall on either extreme of overindulgence or abstinence then you are sure to fall short.